Friday, 25 May 2018 05:19

Basslink power interconnector repair delayed into June Featured

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Basslink, the operator of the Basslink Interconnector, the undersea data and telecommunications cable that connects Tasmania to the Australian mainland, says the power interconnector will take longer than expected to be repaired, and expects it to be ready for service only in early June. No exact date was provided.

The last time Basslink provided an update on the state of the power interconnector, it said the repair would be completed and the interconnector would be back up and working by 31 May.

The power interconnector was damaged when routine maintenance was begun on 24 March, with Basslink saying at the time that a third-party contractor had damaged a piece of equipment and that the interconnector would be up again by 14 April.

In a statement overnight, Basslink said what is now the second delay in restoring the cable back to full functionality was "due to logistics and scheduling challenges beyond the control of Basslink".

Basslink chief executive Malcolm Eccles said: “Due to the highly specialised nature of the equipment needed for the repair as well as the time needed to source the required expertise, the repair is taking longer than expected.

"However, we now have better visibility on the anticipated timeline. We will continue to work hard to bring the Basslink Interconnector back online as soon as possible.”

The company's statement said the Basslink telecommunications cable that provides broadband services to Internet service providers was operating normally

The statement added: "This incident is unrelated to the outage in December 2015 and the ongoing dispute with the state of Tasmania."

The reference was to a dispute over an earlier outage that last for six months from December 2015. The Tasmanian government is seeking damages of $122 million while Basslink denies that it was responsible for the outage.

Hydro Tasmania, the government body that is the predominant electricity generator in the state, said in a statement that Tasmania was well placed to manage a Basslink outage lasting up to early June.

It said: "Basslink advised Hydro Tasmania today of a revised return to service date, noting that it expects the works to be completed by 5 June."

Hydro Tasmania chief executive Steve Davy said: “The extended Basslink outage is not ideal. But it poses no issue for Tasmania’s energy security.

“Autumn has produced good above-average inflows so far. Tasmanian demand can be comfortably met by on-island generation: hydropower, wind and gas.

“Hydro Tasmania storages were at 37.6% on Monday. That’s an extremely secure level as we approach the wettest months of the year. It’s also well above the High Reliability Level set by the Energy Security Taskforce.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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